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How the Toyota CS&S Works

The Toyota CS&S concept car puts Toyota's popular hybrid technology inside a sportier, futuristic design.
The Toyota CS&S concept car puts Toyota's popular hybrid technology inside a sportier, futuristic design.

As gas prices rise and fall unpredictably and drivers think about the kind of car they want, auto manufacturers are scrambling to adjust to a rapidly changing industry to meet new consumer demands. Although there are several different types of alternative fuel vehicle technologies, hybrid technology is the one that we seem to hear the most about. In this realm, it seems that companies are turning predominantly to hybrids, too, since they offer the benefits of a clean, emissions-free electric motor combined with the added power of a gasoline engine.

However, manufacturers are still dealing with uncertain perceptions customers have of hybrid cars. One common concern is that hybrid cars don't offer consistent power or speed due to the electric motor. And then there's the design angle -- some hybrids might be just a little too small or even a little too strange-looking for some drivers that have become accustomed to sportier designs.

At the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2003, Toyota introduced a concept car that aimed to combine innovative insides -- efficient hybrid technology -- with the sleek, nearly futuristic outside design of a sports car. The vehicle the company revealed was the Toyota CS&S (Compact Sports & Specialty) concept. One look at the design and you'd think you were looking at something from a science fiction film. Toyota had already influenced the hybrid car sector with the popular Prius model, but with the introduction of the CS&S, the company aimed to show that hybrid technology could work for a flashy open top convertible as well as the usual mid-sized car.

The CS&S concept doesn't look futuristic from just the outside, either. The car's interior features the same kind of innovative hybrid technology you'll find in most Prius models, and a few extra features that sound like clever gadgets from a comic book super hero's vehicle. So what makes the Toyota CS&S so special? Keep reading to find out.